Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
IV. Sabbath: Worship: Creed
Religion and Doctrine
John Hay (1838–1905)
 
HE stood before the Sanhedrim;
The scowling rabbis gazed at him;
He recked not of their praise or blame;
There was no fear, there was no shame
For one upon whose dazzled eyes        5
The whole world poured its vast surprise.
The open heaven was far too near,
His first day’s light too sweet and clear,
To let him waste his new-gained ken
On the hate-clouded face of men.        10
 
But still they questioned, Who art thou?
What hast thou been? What art thou now?
Thou art not he who yesterday
Sat here and begged beside the way,
For he was blind.
                    And I am he;
        15
For I was blind, but now I see.
 
He told the story o’er and o’er;
It was his full heart’s only lore;
A prophet on the Sabbath day
Had touched his sightless eyes with clay,        20
And made him see, who had been blind.
Their words passed by him like the wind
Which raves and howls, but cannot shock
The hundred-fathom-rooted rock.
 
Their threats and fury all went wide;        25
They could not touch his Hebrew pride;
Their sneers at Jesus and his band,
Nameless and homeless in the land,
Their boasts of Moses and his Lord,
All could not change him by one word.        30
 
I know not that this man may be,
Sinner or saint; but as for me,
One thing I know, that I am he
Who once was blind, and now I see.
 
They were all doctors of renown,        35
The great men of a famous town,
With deep brows, wrinkled, broad, and wise,
Beneath their wide phylacteries;
The wisdom of the East was theirs,
And honor crowned their silver hairs;        40
The man they jeered and laughed to scorn
Was unlearned, poor, and humbly born;
But he knew better far than they
What came to him that Sabbath day;
And what the Christ had done for him,        45
He knew, and not the Sanhedrim.
 
 
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